Private party to take over Ash/Craft Industries
by Jon Wysochanski November 25 2018
Reprint from the Star Beacon
A third party has been selected to provide adult services for Ash/Craft Industries. County Commissioners approved a lease for $1 a year with the Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities, who will in turn lease the Ash/Craft building to Perrysburg-based Person Centered Services for $1 a year, according to DD Board President Andrew Misiak. PCS will take over Ash/Craft Jan. 1, Misiak said, and the 47 employees who were previously DD Board employees will now have the option to stay on with PCS at the same rate of pay. “Their jobs were abolished,” Misiak said. “What that means is they were just abolished as employees of the county. Every single employee will be offered a position with PCS at their current rate of pay.” The Ash/Craft program, and those who are a part of it, will not change substantially when PCS assumes operations and the DD Board will help with the transition, Misiak said. PCS has operations across the state, Misiak said, and everyone is expecting a smooth transition. “They know how to grow programs and the populations they are working with,” Misiak said. “They are a top-notch company to work with for DD populations.” DD Board Superintendent Anne Zeitler said it is a priority of the DD Board that populations continue to receive services at Ash/Craft without disruption and she expects a “smooth and seamless transition.” “It’s definitely a new chapter and we are thrilled PCS will be providing adult services,” Zeitler said. Zeitler said all 47 employees are “guaranteed a job at their current rate of pay” if they choose it. The process is in place and moving forward, she said. “It’s a win win because consumers will continue to attend Ash/Craft and maintain their community employment without disruption,” Zeitler said. “And we can take care of out board employees by guaranteeing a job. I was really happy to hear that PCS would be able to do that for them.” Zeitler said the DD Board will still pay Medicaid waiver matches so individuals can receive services. PCS will pay salaries and benefits, she said. “This is not a money savings, it is working with the money we have,” Zeitler said. All DD Boards across the state are mandated to privatize adult services by 2024, and Zeitler said due to financial constraints the Ashtabula County DD Board made a decision to privatize early. “We were in deficit spending,” Zeitler said. “It’s not like we had money and now we’ve got extra.” Zeitler said the state wants privatization because they see a conflict of interest in county board’s, who a responsible for paying Medicaid waiver matches, also providing services and writing plans for individuals who receive services. “They look at it as a conflict of interest when the same organization writes the plan and then pays for the plan,” Zeitler said. Zeitler said about 200 individuals are involved in Ash/Craft and anywhere from 35 to 50 people hold community employment jobs. Ash/Craft moved into its current location in 1978, Zeitler said.